Getting started with OnApp for vCenter

OnApp turns your vCenter environment into a self-service cloud, so you can use our intuitive control panel to allow users to provision and manage virtual machines, without giving them access to your vCenter environment. Here’s a quick guide to getting OnApp for vCenter up and running.


Requirements & installation process

First, head over to the following link and familiarize yourself with the technical details and requirements of OnApp for vCenter:

Next, install your control panel server using the installation instructions here:

Configuring OnApp for vCenter

Log in to the Control Panel using the default credentials. First we will create a Compute Zone for our vCenter. Zones are how you manage multiple vCenters in OnApp: having a Zone per vCenter allows you define Access Control and Rate Cards for each one.

To do this please Go to Settings -> Compute Zone and create a new Zone. Leave everything to default but “Release Resource Type” should be changed to “Only Started Virtual Server”.

The next step is to add your vCenter to OnApp, vCenter will be added as a compute resource, so head over to Settings -> Compute Resource and add a new Compute Resource

  1. Ensure that “Compute Resource Type” is set to “vCenter”, and for the Compute Zone select the one you created previously
  2. API url is your vCenter url or IP address, e.g. “vcenter1.onapp.lab”
  3. For login and password, please provide a System Administrator level username and password for your vCenter, which OnApp will use to connect and carry out actions
  4. Finally, hit “Save”.

OnApp will now connect to vCenter and import the infrastructure such as Clusters, Datastores and Networks. If you head over to Datastore Zones under Settings -> Datastore Zones, you will see a new Datastore Zone labelled using the Datacenter name in vCenter. The same goes for Networks which will all be present in a Network Zone labelled with your vCenter Datacenter name.

In the following screenshots, my vCenter datacenter is called “LAB”.

To enable vCenter Virtual Server Console to be accessible from OnApp, we need to define the system hostname in “Settings”-> “Configuration” -> “System host”: add the public FQDN or IP address here.

Refining access for users

You are able to create additional Datastore Zones and Network Zones to further limit access to vCenter network and storage resources for users. Steps to create new zones for resources are:

  1. Head over to Settings -> Compute Resources and click on your vCenter compute resource.
  2. Click the Green Tools icon and under “Management Options” select “Manage Data stores”.
  3. You will see all the Datastores from the vCenter listed here and a button with “-” in the last column. Click this button to detach the Datastore that you want to place in a different Datastore Zone.
  4. Go back to Settings -> Datastore Zone and click on the Datastore Zone which was created when the vCenter was first imported – this should be labelled as the vCenter Datacenter.
  5. Although the Datastore has been detached from the vCenter Compute Resource, we still have to detach it from the Zone. Click the detach datastore button, last column “-”, and it will disappear from the list.
  6. Create a new Datastore Zone for this datastore that you have just detached from Compute Resource and Datastore Zone.
  7. Click on the new Datastore Zone that you have created: you will see the previously detached Datastore appear under “UNASSIGNED DATA STORES”. Click the “+” and assign this datastore to this Zone.
  8. We have now moved the Datastore from the default Datastore Zone to our new Datastore Zone: next we need to re-attach it to the vCenter. Head over to Settings -> Compute Resources and click on your vCenter compute resource.
  9. Click the Green Tools icon and under “Management Options” select “Manage Data stores”. Under the “ADD DATA STORES” section, select your datastore from the drop down menu and click “Add Data Store”.

The same process can be used for moving Networks from the default Network Zone, except that in step 9, the interface type should be set to “vlan”.

Importing vCenter virtual machines

Now that you have created Datastore and Network Zones for your infrastructure components, you can import existing vCenter virtual machines into OnApp so your users can manage their VMs running in vCenter from the OnApp Control Panel.

  1. Go to Settings-> Compute Resource and select your vCenter.
  2. From the “Tools” menu select “Import Virtual Server”.
  3. From the VM Name drop-down select the VM you wish to import, and from the “Assign to User” drop-down select the user to which this virtual server will belong
  4. Click Submit. The VM will be imported and appear in the Virtual Server list.

Your users can deploy Virtual Servers in vCenter using OnApp. When managing multiple vCenter Servers, OnApp can act as a singular Template library, but if you are managing multiple vCenters which are in different geo locations, please get in touch with your Technical Account Manager and they will be able advise.


You can create OVAs for your templates and upload them using OnApp Control Panel under “Components” -> “Templates” -> “OVA”.

Once the OVA has been uploaded you will need to convert this OVA: this can be done by clicking the gear icon for the OVA you uploaded and selecting “Convert”. In the pop-up window, select “vCenter” as the virtualization type and add the information including the root username and password, which is needed for OnApp to manage the disks and provision the Virtual Server with an IP address, hostname, and resolvers that you have defined inside OnApp.

If you’d like more information, just get in touch. Thanks!